Colors often mean more than just aesthetics. They can show a person’s mood, provide foreshadowing in a story, or help decipher unusual dreams. Yet, classic colors can have different meanings and explanations depending on the context.
Symbolism is a key element of Freemasonry. Whether it’s on clothing or wall hangings, the Masonic colors this society uses have deeper meanings than just appearance.
What are Masonic Colors?
“Masonic Colors” refer to the colors commonly used by Freemasons. Britannica describes Freemasonry as the largest worldwide secret society. It’s most common in countries that were part of the British Empire, such as the British Isles.
It’s unclear when Freemasonry originated, but it’s suspected that the National organization began around 1717 in England. Yet, it’s likely that smaller Freemason societies have existed for much longer. To be a Freemason, members must be adult males who believe in a supreme being, so color symbolism in Freemasonry is often related to religion.
Freemasons pass down knowledge and practices to those in the society, and many of their teachings revolve around symbolism and secret meanings. Therefore, Masonic colors are for telling stories rather than creating styles. They often have a deeper explanation than what meets the eye.
Some colors like blue and white are used frequently in Freemasonry clothing and supplies. When you look at the meanings, it’s for good reason too. While other colors like purple, yellow, and red are used more sparingly, it’s due to the symbolism behind those hues.
Secret Meanings and Symbolism of Masonic Colors
Color meanings vary depending on the context, but Masonic colors share a fairly consistent meaning among Freemasons. Here are seven common Masonic colors and what the symbolism behind them is.
White is the symbol of innocence, purity, and light. It’s connected to pure items like snow, blank canvases, and wedding dresses. It’s also seen as a symbol of cleanliness since it can show any hint of impurity clear as day.
Masonic royalty often wears white to portray these meanings of wholeness. White is the perfect balance of all colors, yet it doesn’t absorb any attention for itself when mixed with another color.
White has also been tied to religious symbols and the color of the Gods. Also, in the Bible, Jesus is often described wearing the brightest white clothing. It can also be described as a color of resurrection and spirits. At one point, it was even worn as a color of mourning.
Like white, black is another essential color. It has been used in all civilizations since the Middle Ages. It was originally used as a symbol of death and darkness, which is the opposite of white’s common meanings. Knights often wore all black to represent this dark and frightening symbolism.
Black wasn’t introduced as a color of loss and mourning until about halfway through the 14th century. After that, it gradually replaced white as proper attire for those grieving. Even then, it remained a color relating to death.
The color blue is often related to heaven. It represents themes like immortality and eternity, which is why ghosts, spirits, and similar entities are often depicted as blue.
Blue can also represent calmness, which is why relaxing items like the sky and water are blue. If someone has a blue chakra, they’re believed to be tranquil and divine. Other items that can be blue, like flowers, eyes, and feathers, can also give off calming feelings.
In some instances, the shade of blue can have an impact on the color’s meaning. Lighter shades of blue are often associated with goodness. While royal blue has a similar meaning, it can also mean prestige. In some instances, it can be a religious color since priests and chiefs of religious groups often wore blue.
Blue is a significant color in Freemasonry because Freemasons start their journey in a symbolic lodge known as the “Blue Lodge.” The Blue Lodge is where the individuals receive their first three Masonry degrees. In that scenario, blue means special, sacred, wisdom, or perfection. So, Freemasons usually thought very highly of this color.
Shades of purple, including indigo and violet, are often seen as wealth and royalty. It’s because these colors are more rare, only seen in some flowers, feathers, and stones. Indigo is supposedly related to spiritual visions and psychic abilities, which are most commonly seen for more fortunate individuals like royalty.
While purple is a symbol of power to many, it has long been a symbol of religion too. The Bible often references the color, which is a mixture of red and blue. In a religious context, shades of purple are most commonly seen on cloths spread across the altar and robes. It also has some meanings related to a union.
Yellow is rarer in Freemasonry, but it still has a big significance. In Freemasonry, yellow and gold are used to represent the sun, while silver is linked to the moon. Since yellow is commonly associated with sunlight, yellow means wisdom.
However, yellow and gold can also have some contradicting meanings too. In some cases, yellow represents both the best and worst of a person all at once. That’s because positive words like brass and honey are related to shades of yellow, while less favorable words like sulfur and cowardice also are.
Yellow can also mean jealousy, incontinence, and treachery. Despite being similar to yellow, gold is usually only seen as a positive meaning due to its links to riches.
Red is the color of blood, so Freemasons often use it as a symbol for sacrifice and struggle. It’s often linked to wars, military, and heroes, along with fire in some cases.
In Masonry, this color is a clear sign of devotion, faith, and courage. In some cases, it could also symbolize love and generosity.
On a darker note, red can be connected to hell, demons, and rage since it’s the color of fire. It’s often noted as the opposite of blue’s calming and heavenly symbols.
When it comes to nature, green is the color that stretches for miles. Grass, trees, moss, and plenty of other plant life is green, linking the color to life as a whole. Green often means peace, happiness, resurrection, and immortality.
Green is present in areas that are abundant with life, food, and other valuable resources. Yet, when nature lacks the color green, areas tend to be more desolate and depressing. Green is an essential symbol for love and growth because life cannot exist without an excess of green.
Masonic colors focus specifically on evergreen, which is a symbol of rebirth and moral life. Ancient Egyptians even claimed that the blood of deities was dark green to show that the color represents life, immortality, divinity, and soul. While green isn’t always as talked about as the other colors, it’s an essential hue for all life.
Masonic Color Pattern Meanings and Symbolism
In some scenarios, multiple colors together can have different meanings than those colors alone. Freemasons often use patterns and mixtures of colors to represent different meanings. Here are a few examples.
Black and White
Black and white are two colors that complement each other perfectly. When black and white are seen in a design together, they represent a dual principle that can also mean order.
Freemasons often used black and white in a mosaic tile pattern to represent that symbolism. The Temple of Solomon is an example of a structure with this pattern. The contrasting tiles could also symbolize the contrast between good and bad in human life.
Blue and Gold
Sometimes, the colors blue and gold are seen together. This is because the sky is blue, and the sun’s rays that shine through the sky are a gold tint. So, when these colors are seen in a pattern together, they represent the sky, sun, and stars.
Blue and gold also have significance related to gods and deities. That’s why the colors are sometimes seen together in Masonic rings, aprons, and other accessories.
Red, Blue, Purple, and White
Capitular Masonry, which is the first part of the system of Masonic degrees, focuses on the colors red, blue, purple, and white together. Veils in temples often had these colors to represent the four elemental zones: Water, Fire, Air, and Earth. Red represents the element of Fire, blue is Air, white is Earth, and purple is Water.
When experimenting with lights of these colors, Egyptians discovered that red and green make black when mixed together. Therefore, patterns of red, black, and green are also common and are found in things associated with a supreme being.
Gold, Silver, and Copper
These unique colors were seen similarly to blue and gold. They represented the sun, moon, and planet Venus, all of which are sacred. The planet Mercury was sometimes represented through the colors of onyx stones or acacia wood.
Meaning in Colors is Important
Color meanings are important, no matter the context. Freemasonry is just one example of a situation where colors play a deeper role than meets the eye. The power of symbolism in colors is prominent in our daily lives, including feelings, decisions, and interpretations.
So, this secret society isn’t the only one that holds certain colors in high regard. Color might be influencing your life more than you even notice.